Oston Skates – Roller coaster life of an entrepreneur

A young entrepreneur who started his journey from a small town in Jaipur, has been termed as a young innovator of the city. Sayar Singh, who came from a mediocre family had curiosity and fervor to create new products which can bring change in the society. He started innovating new ideas and products at the age of twelve and founded the company Oston Tech Pvt. Ltd along with other co-founders. By the age of 18 he already had 32 innovations and 5 pending patents in his name. His innovations to name a few range from various technical gadgets like Drone, Measurement Apparatus to security systems like Locks to alert the police department and the owner in insecure conditions, Fuel Management system which prevents fuel filing station from fire etc.

Sayar is a serial innovator and has zeal to keep bringing new idea and products to the market. However, currently he has taken sabbatical from his Oston Tech Pvt. Ltd. due to lack of funds to support his research and production of the products.

One of the most significant and revolutionizing innovation by Sayar Singh is ‘Oston Skates’. These skates are designed so as to take the skates to a next level which enhances the jerk absorbing capacity of the skates. The USP of these skates is the suspension system which is supported by a spring mechanism. It has ability to absorb more than 75% of shock. This enhances speed and mobility of the skates along with controlling balance based on the body position. These can be used for long as well as short distance. What made Sayar think about this innovation is to address the problems faced by many skaters while skating on road or on a rough area.

Oston Skates Features

Oston Skates Features

There are around 12 features of Oston Skates which make them unique and innovative. Few of them can be listed as below:
• It can run anywhere on rough and uneven surface.
• It has got shock absorption capacity of around 75%.
• It has well designed balancing system and brake system which helps in maintaining the balance.
• In ordinary skates person has to bend his knees and legs for higher speed. This causes joint pains, however in Oston skates it has oscillation point in the wheels which helps to maintain comfortable position.
• Spring mechanism and the brake system allows to do skating in decline position.
• The overall mechanism helps to enhance speed and it can also cross hurdles in 90 degree position.

These skates mechanism has many applications to improve the performance and efficiency of emergency vehicles. The concept is applicable in automobiles and the first implementation for the same is skates. The jerk free or shock absorption mechanism can be used in motor vehicles to reduce accidents in case of sudden brake application. For ambulances, with jerk free technology, treatment inside the vans could be more effective saving time at those crucial moments in the patient’s life.

Currently, Sayar and team has filed for patent application in European Patent Office for their unique innovation. The patent grant is still awaited and the team is working on developing or improving the design further. Marketing team is working to chalk out marketing strategy which can help to position these skates in right market segment and can beat the competition.

What Sayar and team plans next is to produce these skates on a large scale so as to achieve economies of scale to bring down the costs and make it available to as many market segments as possible. For this he requires funding of around $225,000. A good idea with a perfect marketing strategy in place is useless if it is not fueled with appropriate funds.
Many entrepreneurs and innovators like Sayar has to face hardships in order to make their idea worth. Backing by proper fund managers and investors can make their idea worthwhile and help contribute to the GDP of the country. Otherwise their life will be a roller coaster ride as on the skating wheels!

Contributed by my colleague, Snehal Mahajan

Decade of Innovation: Intellectual Property Right (IPR) think tank

Our honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi has called for innovation in renewable energy to meet the soaring demand for electricity and to provide affordable energy to everyone. He has declared this decade 2010-2020 as Decade of innovation. Taking this initiative further India’s new Science, Technology and Innovation policy was released in 2013. It envisions to see India among the top five global scientific power by 2020. The main objective of this policy is to allocate special budget for innovation and Research and Development related activities, modification of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for social goods and IPR generated under PPP; setting up of a regulatory and legal framework for sharing IPRs between investors and inventors.

Taking this further ahead, the Modi administration has expressed renewed interest in Intellectual Property (IP) and has given the hope to the global community regarding the future of innovation. Recently, this initiative was substantiated with the creation of national Intellectual Property Right (IPR) think tank and the release of draft national IPR policy. It is applauded among the industry as it recognizes the link between the IP protections and innovation.

Currently the IP system in India has a well-established legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard Intellectual Property Right. India’s comprehensive legal framework on IPRs include:
• The Patents Act 1970 (Amended in 2005)
• The Trade Marks Act 1999
• The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registrations and Protection) Act 1999
• The Designs Act 2000
• The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000
• The Copyright Act 1957 (Amended in 2012)
• The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act 2001

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is responsible for four of the seven IP rights, i.e. patents, trademarks, designs and geographical indications. The other IP rights are administered by the Department of Higher Education (Copyright), the Department of Information Technology (Semi-Conductor and Integrated Circuits Layout Design) and the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (Plant varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act). Today, India’s IP system ensures the protection of IP while promoting the balance of rights and obligations between the producers and uses of IP.

This national IPR policy is drafted realizing the growing importance of strong and balanced IP system. Several initiatives have been undertaken to foster the environment for trade and technology in India. To facilitate the commercialization of IPRs and to create impact of innovation, the DIPP has constituted a thin tank to draft this national IPR policy. It will also act as an advisory to the government on range of patent related issues. This assumes significance as the past few months has been testimony to the growing synergy between India and the US after the visit of President Barack Obama on Republic Day celebrations. There seems to be an explicit recognition that trade between India and the US will be mutually beneficial to both the nations.

Keeping this mission in mind, the think tank will also give views on the possible implications of demands from various negotiating partner countries. India’s IPR policies have come under attack from the US, with the latter pinpointing out-of-the-cycle patent’s regime. The think tank will highlight anomalies in present IPR policies and advice possible solutions to the commerce industry. The think tank will be headed by six member panel including:
• Justice Prabha Sridevan, former chairperson of the Intellectual Property Apellate Board and former judge of the Madras High Court
• Pratibha Singh, Senior Advocate
• Punita Bhargava, Advocate, Inventure IP
• Unnat Pandit, Cadila Pharmaceuticals
• Rajeev Srinivasan, Director, Asian School of Business
• Narendra Sambarwal, retired DDG, WIPO

The objective of the think tank is to cull out a road map for the IPR policy. A well drafted IPR policy will help to bring legal certainty and transparency, having direct impact on business and economic growth. With the recent draft of IPR policy the stage has been set to embrace the solution. It remains to be seen how effectively the government supports the strong IP protections.

Contributed by my colleague, Snehal Mahajan

Rights on Historical Monuments

“Who does the ‘Taj Mahal’ belong to?” this question was raised recently by one of the representative of Waqf board to the Culture Minister, Manish Sharma. The issue went on to discuss that this one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a cultured monument of India, should be declared as a property of the Waqf board. The board claimed this property as their own on the grounds of religion and the origins of its creator.

Is it possible to claim such a design or ownership of the building or the monument in the absence/presence of its creator? Does anyone have a right to create the same kind of a building or a design somewhere else? If all other kinds of intellectual property can be protected by IPR in some or the other form; then why not designs of building as well. Currently, Intellectual Property Rights Law has made provision to protect the design of a packaging or design of a trade symbol as well. The new Trade Marks Act, 1999, which came into realization in September 2003 has provided protection to design forms in the way of Trade Dress.

Trade dress basically refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or packaging or even the Trade symbol. This helps to signify the origin of the goods or services. This also includes design for the buildings. However, this concept is not much widely applied and the designs of buildings are not protected. Though there might not be much cases of design counterfeiting for buildings, it can be a serious issue when it comes to heritage monuments.

Ideally, these cultural or archaeological monuments which are preserved or conserved over the years fall under the purview of government of the respective Country where that building exists. The revenue generated from such tourism belongs to the government which is used either for the preservation of these buildings or considered as revenue of the Country generated via tourism. Still people from different communities claim rights over such property based on the creator’s origin or attach religious context to claim ownership. This clearly hinders the Country’s pride to represent such an artifact and it also has an impact on the revenue. Also, handing it over to some communities might not only restrict the access to the monument for other communities but also might destroy the monument.

In order to protect these monuments, Trade Dress law can be modified or applied effectively to ensure the design of the building and the ownership of the buildings are restricted. Like copyright law, act can be made to give exclusive rights to the owner of the building over the Design and usage of it. In the absence or death of the owner the rights can be transferred to pre-nominated person or handed over to the concerned government. This can be applied to both Historical monuments as well to the commercial buildings which are raised as state-of-the-art artifact.

This provision can be included in the existing ‘Trademark Act, 1999’ or can be included in the ‘The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010’. These laws do consider the mentioned issue but does not involve stringent application on it for building purposes. A committee can be setup who looks after Archaeological monuments to decide on the application and infringement related decisions.

There is a need to ponder over this issue which is currently impacting the most renowned monuments in India. There will be a time tomorrow which will affect the renowned builders who are in the process of creating world class residential setup for the public. This Act or provision would definitely help them to maintain their Brand as well as design uniqueness.

Contributed by my colleague, Snehal Mahajan

Sharing our journey so far and move to the new office!!

While all of you would have expected me to write my usual blog on innovation, this week I would like to share our joy of moving to a new office today.

Its been an interesting ride for us at Scinnovation, the company which I cofounded on 25th April 2005 in Mumbai along with my spouse, Trishla.

Starting with a focus on Executive Search whereby we recruited top end R&D talent whereby Indians in USA & Europe were looking at opportunities to come back to India which also led to an interesting opportunity to work with National Knowledge Commission (NKC) under Prime Minister Office to create a knowledge base of Scientists & Technologists of Indian origin.

But deep inside, I have always wanted to work directly with Innovators and help them take their ideas to the market!!

So I took a sabbatical and joined Villgro Innovation Foundation, a social incubator based in Chennai and worked directly with Grass root Innovators, Students as also Entrepreneurs to help shape their ideas and forge partnerships between Innovators & Entrepreneurs.

In the meanwhile, the undersigned qualified as a Patent Agent with Indian Patent Office and then Scinnovation was reborn on 01st April 2010.

Scinnovation is now a full fledged Intellectual Property (IP) protection, consulting and monetisation firm headquartered in Mumbai with associates across India & USA.

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We help our clients protect their ideas, advice on the best business strategy for their IP / intangible assets, create awareness by speaking and writing about interesting topics and looking at ways in which we can partner with Individual Innovators and create a robust business model to take their idea to the market.

We have also been lucky to have received great testimonials from leading luminaries for our book, Protect Your Ideas a handbook on Intellectual Property now available as a free e-book for download on our site.
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And today marks another beginning in this journey with our move to shift to a new fully serviced office in the heart of South Mumbai at Churchgate.

With an expanding business and expanding team, we have to climb many more mountains but most importantly to help the Innovator, Creative & Design community in their dreams of making the world a better place!!!

You scratch my back & I will scratch yours!!

Amazed by the title of this week’s blog???

Well in simple terms, the phrase ‘You scratch my back & I scratch yours’ means doing each other a favour or helping each other out and that’s exactly the topic for this week means ‘Cross licensing of Intellectual Property portfolios’.

Cross Licensing simply means that companies with an extensive IP portfolio, primarily comprising of patents share it with a 3rd party who could be from outside their industry or even a competitor.

Of late, we are seeing many cross licensing deals especially in the media/telecom/electronics sector and rightly so, considering the convergence of technologies across this space leading to exciting new opportunities for companies operating in this space.

For example, a deal which took place few years ago was between Samsung & Microsoft, unlikely partners!! The reason being that both the companies wanted to compete with the legend, Apple Corporation to stop it’s dominance of the smart phone market.

Samsung shared its patent portfolio comprising electronics patents whereas Microsoft shared its patent portfolio comprising of consumer software, the two key components required in making of a smart phone. The deal did not involve any cash pack out but gave both the companies the freedom to exploit respective portfolio and build meaningful products out of it.

The recent deal which has taken place is between Microsoft and Dell Computers in March 2014 which involved intellectual property related to Android and Chrome OS devices and Xbox gaming consoles.

Under the terms of the agreement, both the parties agreed on royalties for Dell’s products running the Android or Chrome platforms and consideration to Dell for a license for Xbox gaming consoles.

This is a very clever way of avoiding costly and time consuming patent litigation and is a win-win for all the stakeholders including the consumer.

A related development is also around licensing of Standard Essential Patents (SEP), which are the core patents required by any industry player for developing a technology in that particular area. Since companies have been trying to block entry of competitors by not sharing SEP as also litigating against it, companies are coming together to cooperate with each other and share SEP patents rather than block competition.

Recently Samsung was reprimanded in United States for using SEP patents to import ban against some older Apple products in United States.

So, the bottomline is be smart, partner with competitors and 3rd party wherever possible and don’t let lawyers laugh to the bank!!!